Articles

Daddy Longlegs Risk Life … and Especially Limb … to Survive | Deep Look


The forest floor is a rough-and-tumble kind
of place. It’s best to stay above it all. This daddy longlegs does just that…on eight
flexible stilts. The end of each leg is multi-jointed. It works like a rope. And see the tip?…There’s a hook there. With every step, he’s grappling his way
over the obstacles in his path. Perfect for off-roading. Even better for climbing. This guy can handle just about anything you throw at him. Those front two legs are also used as feelers… For what’s around the next corner. So really, they only walk on six of their
legs, unlike spider, which daddy longlegs are NOT, by the way. Their closest cousins
are scorpions. Such precious tools require regular care and
grooming. But there’s a downside to having these long limbs. They’re easy for enemies to grab onto. And for that, this daddy longlegs has another
solution. He simply cuts his losses and walks away. We did not not pull that leg! Just the slightest grip, and he’ll drop it. He has a built-in mechanism to pinch it off
cleanly, losing only a drop of hemolymph. It’s called autotomy, the voluntary release
of a body part. That loose limb can create a life-saving distraction… But at a cost. Life without a leg is no cakewalk. Since the limb’s not coming back, the daddy
longlegs has to learn a new way to walk. Ignacio Escalante at UC Berkeley studies how
daddy longlegs do this. Here’s one that still has all eight legs. If it drops one of them… No problem. Escalante calls this movement “stotting.” If it drops a second leg, the daddy longlegs
starts “bobbing” to get around. Lose a third… and he still makes it happen. Don’t feel too bad for him. Even down to five legs, a daddy longlegs can
get back to its original speed in less than a day. In fact, most daddy longlegs deliberately
drop a couple legs in their lifetimes to escape certain death. No big deal — they just let it go. So really, there are second chances in life. And sometimes, a third and a fourth. Hey there, it’s Lauren. You know who’s afraid of creepy-crawly things
like daddy longlegs and spiders? Joe Hanson of It’s Okay to Be Smart. Hop over to his channel to see what happens
when you put a tarantula on his shoulder. And thanks for watching Deep Look.

Comment here